• Europe,  France,  Travel

    Nice, La Belle

    In my recent post about Monaco, I mentioned that it is an easy day-trip from Nice! It only seemed natural then to write about Nice as well.  Nice is a beautiful coastal town in Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. There is so much to do and see in Nice, from it’s pebbled beach up to the Monastère de Cimiez!   This is the first place that I ever took a solo overnight trip!  There are cheap TGV tickets using Ouigo if booking ahead of time with flexible dates.  Throughout my stay, I met many generous and kind locals who gave me great advice and directions! Here are some of the highlights…

  • Europe,  Travel

    Top Two Can’t-Miss Sites in Monaco

    The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world – behind Vatican City!  The country is in the French Riviera, along the Mediterranean Sea.  I popped over to Monaco for a day while spending a long weekend in Nice, France.  Monaco is a very quick (and scenic) train-ride from Nice.  Most people associate Monaco with the Monte Carlo Casino and the Grand Prix, but the destination has a lot more to offer.  It’s like visiting a city, but you get to add a whole new country to your list!  If you’re short on time, I recommend visiting two highlights – Le Palais des Princes and Jardin Exotique de Monaco.…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Day Trip to Girona and Figueres, Spain

    I always recommend visiting local Tourist Offices when traveling.  They offer a lot of great resources, including (free!) maps and advice.  I like to take a look at the available tours to nearby destinations for ideas and suggestions.  Sometimes I book day-trips through tourist offices, but a lot of times I use the tours as an idea to plan a trip myself! At the Barcelona Tourist Office, I noticed tours for day-trips to Girona and Figueres.  I took a pamphlet with me, did a little research myself, and I found it was easy to book train tickets and visit the cities by myself.  Figueres is a popular destination due to the Teatre-Museu…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Exploring Barcelona in 72 Hours

    Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the Northeastern region in Spain.  This city has so much to offer between the art, architecture, delicious food, and the beach!  To this day, Barcelona is one of my top favorite cities that I have visited.  Here are the Can’t Miss spots when visiting Barcelona: Barri Gòtic – Gothic Quarter The Gothic Quarter is incredibly charming.  The narrow streets are filled with cathedrals, restaurants, and clubs.  It is a stark contrast to La Rambla which is quite open.  The roads make up a myriad and it is fun to guess what is waiting around the next corner.  One of my favorite meals was in Barri Gotic. …

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Lille, Ma Ville

    I lived in Lille, France for 8 months between 2016-2017 while I was a Teaching Assistant.  Lille is the capital of Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France. This region is relatively new, combining the two former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy.  Lille is specifically located in French Flanders, close to the France/Belgium border.   When applying to the TAPIF program, candidates select three of their top choices of regions where they hope to be assigned.  Luckily for me, I wasn’t assigned to any of my choices!  I was assigned to the Lille region, and I immediately fell in love with it!  The city has so much charm!  Pin it: XoXo

  • Morocco,  Travel

    Exploring the Fez Medina

    Fez is the second largest city in Morocco, behind Casablanca. Fez has different sections, including “Old Fez” (Fez el Bali) from the 9th Century and “New Fez” (Fez el Djedid) from the 13th Century! Yes, you read that right – “New Fez” was founded in 1276!   Fes el Bali, Old Fez, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Inside the walled city, there is a maze of winding streets filled with vendors and merchants.  University of Al-Karaouine, the world’s oldest existing (and still operating!) university is within Fes el Bali.   Fez is still the most intact, least modernized medina in the Arab world and one of the largest car-free urban…

  • Travel,  United States

    Cherry Blossom Festival

    It’s that time of year folks! It’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC! Every year around this time, people from all over come to DC to see the coveted cherry trees blooming around the tidal basin and other areas. This also sparks a festival with various events in the city. The trees were planted beginning in 1912, but new trees have been planted regularly since then. Peak bloom was Monday, April 1st! This was no April Fool’s joke, because I brought my puppy and walked around the basin on Monday and indeed the trees are blooming! Peak bloom is supposed to be when at least 70% of the trees are…

  • Morocco,  Travel

    An Afternoon in Essaouira

    After spending time in Marrakech, my fiance, Reda, his parents, and I drove to the Atlantic coast for a few days along with the family puppy, Paco!  En route to Agadir, we visited Essaouira for an afternoon.  As we pulled into the town, I saw a coastline full of beach-goers and surfers!  My future Mother-in-Law, Rachida, grew up in Essaouira so it was really nice to have her show us around.  We ended up parking right beside her high school! Whereas Marrakech had all red/pink hues, Essaouira had more whites and tans with splashes of bright blue throughout the city.  We spent most of the afternoon walking through the Medina,…

  • Morocco,  Travel

    Marrakech, Morocco

    We stayed in Marrakech for the first several days during my trip.  One of the first things I noticed was the driving – the roads are pure chaos!  Yet, it is an organized chaos.  In traffic circles, no one is following the lanes.  The road is shared by trucks, cars, motorbikes, sometimes even mules.  I don’t know how they all share the road without crashing, but it somehow just works!  The contrast of coexisting extremes also surprised me.  I saw motorbikes with several people piled on sharing the road with expensive sports cars.  That’s not something that I see every day! La ville en rose We all know Edith Piaf’s song “La…

  • Life,  Morocco,  Travel

    My Moroccan Engagement

    In September, I traveled to Morocco to see my (then) boyfriend’s native country and meet his family.  And I got engaged!!  The most popular question I have been asked is if I knew it was coming.  I probably should have read the signs, but I truly was surprised! Preparation I was told ahead of time to bring heels to wear to a “Welcome Party” with his family and that Reda’s mom, Rachida, had a Caftan made for me to wear.  Reda completely played it down, saying they rented out a space because they couldn’t host everyone at his brother’s apartment.  Made sense to me!  He told me that when you…